Down for the Count Up, 4

FOURS, OCTOBER 5, 2010

Who decided to measure significance in fours?

Scholarly times, significant times, self discovery and soul expansion; whether we realized it or not.

First year scared, uncertain, going through the motions and just trying to keep up. We don’t think about seniors because it’s unimaginable that we will ever be them.

Second year more comfortable, finding routines to follow, not so much worried about being lost, we know our place, for now. 

Third year holding our own, established, feet planted firmly in ownership of our roles, noticing a new class of freshmen.

Fourth year – accomplishment, realized a pinnacle, and confidently measured our success and scholarship.
Some of us went on to college and some of us decided not to take another quarter ride.

Widowhood is a lot like that.

First year scared, uncertain, go through the motions and just try and keep up. We don’t think about happy because it’s unimaginable that we will ever be that again.

Second year not so uncomfortable, not so much worried about being trampled by anniversary dates, holidays and every days since we’ve already been through a round of those. 

Third year it seems we’re holding our own, sort of established, feet planted firmly because we’re tired of change, noticing more freshman faces and wondering if they’ll survive.

Fourth year – taking careful measure of each minor success in our educational journey, we don’t really need to decide to go on pursue a higher education. It just comes with this particular type of scholarship; not exactly a free ride – this one comes with a moral obligation to guide, if we can. Some of us will decide we’ve learned enough. Some of us will seize the opportunity to further our education.

So here I am, four years later having completed a reluctantly personal four year scholarship to widowhood. Not a freshman, or a sophomore, not even a junior anymore: I’m a senior.

I’m sure I haven’t learned all the “alone” there is to know in the universe, but I’ve established a pretty firm, well-rounded foundation. I’m sure additional unanticipated lessons will come my way. Circumstances seem to dictate further education is in store. Never content standing still, I guess I’m headed into the college years now.

Maybe, after another 4, I might qualify for some sort of teaching certificate. Although after another 4, I will no longer be a “young” widow, so I’m not sure how much help I’ll be to the younger accidental scholars. On the other hand, I anticipate, not with happiness, that there will be more peer aged victims of the inevitable.

I keep coming back to the conclusion that timing is everything. So how we count it is important.

Whether it’s a four-year program, a five or eight year program or an accelerated path, time doesn’t change the way you hurt, it merely adjusts your tolerance for the pain and moves it towards a strange and previously unimaginable acceptance.

Read Reduction

Used to be I had a reading pile. A to-be-read stack of whole magazines or just torn pages, books I picked up for free, printed online articles I didn’t have time to sit down and devote to immediately and knew I’d never find them again. Links can die, you know. Especially after a few years.

Well, I stopped all that physical periodical hoarding. Inspired by an accidental find years ago. 2014; while perusing positive topics for what used to be an email and US Mail based Midweek Encouragement Newsletter. ME News existed in an era otherwise known as ‘pre-blog.’

In the basest form of self-trickery for knowledge seekers, I canceled nearly all of the clutter subscriptions that lead to clutter. Nearly.

Costco and AAA send me monthly periodicals whether I want them or not. I subscribe to the Ann Arbor Observer monthly rag. I could stop them simply, but then, how would I know where all the good stuff is happening in Michigan, or discover why a certain product is better than another? Without endless key-word internet surfing for hours, I mean.

Plus, I’d also lose out on letters and phrases. Grade school, I’ve always loved collage. Went through an interesting and a bit obsessive, huge, collage cut-and-paste phase in college. Began as sorority-sister aimed birthday cards on budget. Ala kindergartener-ish: find a pretty picture, add some happy, descriptive 1500 level words and voila!

I also went through a band-love phase where I would use every print version of the band name I could find and pauperize it into wall hanging. I had a double 8”x14” pair-themed set of Duran Duran fonts proudly displayed in my first dorm room. Hmm. Who am I kidding?

So, maybe both of those things weren’t phases. I’m obviously still in a band-loving stage. And, I still cut out words and phrases. Anyway, the point is, now even just those three founts of info tend to heap on my coffee table. Not a real problem. I break them down, take what I need as I read through, recycle the bulk and end up with smaller piles.

My digital stash is overwhelming, though. I leave large articles unread until I have the time. I gold-star articles that may be of use in the future. I subscribe to a few special interest daily/weekly emails for things I am truly interested in. I’d really like to engage with these lurking lessons. I’m really a little stressed out that I will never catch up and, yet, I continue to pull and hold.

826, 180, 11, 109 emails awaiting my attention. Some are new. About 600 are marked for future, do not delete articles, updates, initiatives. Surprisingly the 826 is not my junk box. It also dates from 2010 forward. Pictures, scratch writing, thoughts – these aren’t a concern to me. I’ll get to them. When? Well, when I do.

There’s def a need to tackle. Do I start with one source and read straight through? Oldest to newest in unrelated order? Sort and scour by topic? By informative value or creative enjoyment? Ugh.

This all sounds way too much like a lot of pre-work to manage my actual desire.

The Minimalists, Podcast 286: Enoughism